For more than a decade, Chattanooga has produced some of the top high school track talent in the state.
Local sprinters and hurdlers have been particularly electric, with several not only winning state titles but setting state records.
Brevin Sims has accomplished both — having won eight TSSAA state championships overall and setting the state record in the 110-meter hurdles last spring. The Arts & Sciences star also owns a state record in the 60-meter indoor hurdles.
He won both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles state titles at last year's Spring Fling — his time of 13.68 seconds in the 110 was the sixth-fastest in the nation — where he also qualified in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Sims also has never lost an individual hurdles event since his eighth grade season, earning a spot as one of the most accomplished prep track athletes in city history.
Sims, fellow CSAS standout Alayah Dozier, Tyner's Jeremiah Batiste and Baylor's Makayla Packer — all of them seniors — are among the local sprinters who were expected to challenge for championships and potentially add to the list of state records before the coronavirus pandemic canceled the 2020 season.
Those sprinters were part of a group from the Chattanooga area that won nine state titles at last year's Spring Fling.
"I feel robbed, to be honest," Sims said. "What I miss the most is just the energy – the crowd and the competition. I was training constantly to build toward having a special senior season and really wanted to break my own record in the 110 and leave with the record in the 300, too.
"At first I was still working out and hoping we would have a season, but once it was canceled, it's been challenging honestly because I don't really know what I was practicing for. I was working out by myself, and it was peaceful at times and tough to be motivated at times, but then I understood that I was doing it because I love it and because I want to be ready for when we can compete again."
Sims, who has signed with Syracuse University, represented the United States in a junior national team event last summer in Cuba, winning the 110 hurdles and helping the 4x100 relay team finish second.
"All of this has made me look back and just be grateful for what I have accomplished," he added.
Dozier was also looking to add to her list of accomplishments, which include sweeping titles in the 100, 200 and 400 and helping her 4x400 relay team finish first last year. She ran the 100 with a personal best of 12.11 seconds, the 200 in 24.88 and the 400 in 57.36.
Batiste, who signed a football scholarship with Miami (Ohio) and is a former state Mr. Football finalist, had the fastest state qualifying time last spring in the 100 and finished second in the 200.
Packer, who set Baylor program records in the 100 and 200 when she won state titles in those events as a sophomore, repeated as the 200 champion last year and narrowly finished second in the 100. She accomplished all of that after having helped the Lady Red Raiders softball team win state titles at the Spring Fling, and she will continue that sport in college at Auburn.